An Injury Doesn’t Need to Render You Helpless – Learn How to Recover
Even when you’re younger, it can take weeks or even months to recover from a serious injury. As we age, our body doesn’t heal itself like it used to. In fact, many seniors may never recover to 100 percent due to more brittle bones and pre-existing medical conditions.
This is why falls are so dangerous for seniors. Not only is a fall one of the major causes of death for seniors, even those who survive tend to deal with more complications.
With that said, it’s not always impossible to avoid injuries. Yes, there are many things you can do to decrease the risk, but if you’re already injured preventative measures won’t really help you in the moment. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to help along your recovery.
Sadly, you cannot stop your body from aging, though you can slow the process. Unfortunately, no matter how well you take care of your body, it will eventually start breaking down. Muscles, bones, joints, etc. all start deteriorating, which leads to common injuries such as:
- Slipped discs
- Fractures in the hip, wrist, knee, ankle, etc.
- Torn meniscus
- Torn Achilles tendon
- Shoulder bursitis
- Tennis elbow
- Hamstring strain
- Plantar fasciitis
Not all of these are on the same level of seriousness, but they can all affect your day-to-day life significantly. So, what can you do to improve your quality of life?
Whether you’re getting over a fracture or tear, physical therapy can help reduce your pain and restore functionality. A good physical therapist will gauge your current injury and activity level and create a routine that is tailored to you.
You’ll most likely meet with a physical therapist a few times a week, but that doesn’t mean you should only do the exercises during your scheduled classes.
In order for physical therapy to be effective you need to do the exercises every day. Otherwise it will take you much longer to heal up, and you’ll be at greater risk of re-injuring yourself.
It might sound counterintuitive but staying active is essential in the healing process. Yes, your physical therapy classes will help you manage the specific area of your injury, but general exercise is also necessary.
Of course, you’ll want to consult with professionals before you start adding more physical routine into your day, especially if you have a fracture. With that said, low-impact and low-intensity activities such as walking or stretching can help get your blood pumping.
Once you’ve recovered sufficiently, you can start incorporating more demanding exercises. Luckily, you can do many in the comfort of your own home. Many exercises just require a chair and a little bit of room.
Just remember not to push yourself too much, especially in the beginning. Take it slow and build up your stamina and strength. Listen to your body. While a little discomfort is normal, especially in the beginning, if you’re feeling sharp pains stop and rest up.
Dealing with pain and limited mobility is stressful for everyone regardless of their age. After all, the activities that used to be so easy, such as walking or opening a cupboard, can prove challenging. Stress and pain can do a number on your hormonal balance and body and can cause many issues such as:
- Lowered immune system
- High blood sugar
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart disease
As you would expect, these can exacerbate your health issues further, which ultimately will lead to more time at the hospital and in bed.
One of the best ways to reduce your stress levels is to meditate. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve your immune system. There are several different types of meditation:
Concentration involves focusing on a single point. That might mean repeating a single word or mantra, staring at an object, counting beads, focusing on your breath, etc.
You’ve probably heard a lot about mindfulness in the news as it has become one of the more popular forms of meditation. Here, the goal is to observe your thoughts and feelings and then let them pass without judgement.
This meditation is often done at the end of a yoga session where you notice tension in your body and then release it. In general, this promotes feelings of calmness and relaxation and is a great exercise to do before bed as it can help you fall asleep.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Food plays an integral part in your recovery. Your body needs crucial nutrients in order to heal and if you don’t have enough, chances are it will take you much longer than if you adopted a balanced diet. Once you’re healed, make sure you continue eating a healthy diet to keep your body strong.
Some of the best types of foods to eat while injured include:
Protein is an important building block for many tissues in your body and can help prevent inflammation. Eat foods high in protein such as fish, tofu, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Eating a diet high in fiber can help manage your weight as it will keep you fuller for longer. Plus, most fiber-rich foods tend to be fruits and vegetables, which means you’re also getting a lot of useful vitamins and nutrients.
Vitamin C helps produce collagen, which in turn helps maintain your bones, muscles, skin, and tendons and reduces inflammation. Luckily, you can get vitamin C from a variety of fruits and vegetables such as oranges, strawberries, leafy greens, and broccoli.
Zinc is an element that promotes wound healing, tissue repair, and growth. Studies suggest a diet low in zinc can delay healing. In order to get more zinc in your diet, eat more shellfish, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
Dealing with an injury is never fun and it can often take longer to recover as a senior. Luckily, these tips can get you back on your feet quickly so you can go back to living your best life.
What other methods have you used to recover from an injury? We’d love to hear your ideas! Let’s move the conversation to the comment section below!